In a nutshell, O1 steel is easy to hone and a very fine edge achieved relatively quickly. A2 steel is a little more difficult to sharpen but retains its edge for longer. The downside being, because of the different grain structure the A2 won’t be quite as sharp as the O1. What does this mean in practice? If you’re roughing something to size or planing abrasive exotics then A2 is probably the better choice. However, for fine finishing or the pure pleasure of working with the very sharpest of tools then go for the O1 option. Various blades for working difficult wood, 38° and 50° bevel blades are available in A2 or O1 tool steel. The A2 toothed blade (38° bevel) works the most difficult grain, especially knots. The small, square teeth leave a textured surface that can be smoothed with a finely set plane or a scraper.